Format:B Interview

The MotorFunk masters headline Egg Presents this Friday

One of the leading electronic acts in the world right now, Format:B – aka Franz Sell and Jakob Hildenbrand - have been amazing crowds with their trademark MotorFunk style for the last ten years. Evolving through a steady string of releases, kicking off with their breakthrough track ‘Vivian Wheeler’ and fuelled by their Beatport tipped electronic imprint, Formatik Records, their unique musical vision can be sampled on their recent stomping remix of Claptone’s ‘Party Girl' or 'Chunky', their 2014 crossover hit.

Headlining Egg Presents this Friday 21st April, alongside Miguel Bastida and Mirco Caruso, we caught up with Franz to find out more about the duo...

For those who don't know, what is the MotorFunk sound?

Well, MotorFunk is the music we make, powerful and filled with a lot of bass and funk.

How did you meet and why did you first decide to make music together?

We both met in 2000 while studying audio engineering in Berlin. It wasn’t hard to find each other there as all the other students ere mainly were long-haired heavy metal fans. After a long party weekend in Berlin we went to my studio with the bags full of drinks and cigarettes. After that the plan was clear.

Can you tell us about you influences in the '90s? Where were you going out and what were you listening to?

I moved to Berlin in 1992. The first club I went to was a techno club called Vereinsheim. I wasn’t so into techno music, but one night there was enough to infect me with the electronic music virus. After that I went to E-Werk and Tresor every weekend. Before that I'd only heard hip-hop and hardcore guitar music. At the same time I played piano for ten years, while Jakob learnt guitar.

Do each of you have a particular speciality in the studio? 

That’s constantly changing. In the beginning we had two studios. So each of us started something on our own and we finished it together. After a while our neighbours started to get a bit stressed because of the music coming out of our apartments, so we moved to a real studio together. Since that day we've made most of the tracks together, from the beginning to the end. Jakob is definitely the man for the bass. I’m more the dude for the crazy, weird stuff in our tracks.

You've had a number of runaway tracks 'Edding 850' and 'Chunky'. At what point do you realise you have a hit like that on your hands?

I mean we always go to the studio to make something great. At least we try. Jakob came up with that 'Chunky' vocal one day and a raw sketch of the track. We finished it together. We always bring a track to the club to test it first, change it again, test it again, and so on… The feedback on the track was good. But to be honest it was just good, not like people going completely crazy about it.  So we released it on our Label Formatik with good results on Beatport, but ut still like a normal 'good' release. The Summer after that track made it into the Shazam Ibiza charts and was number one the whole summer season. Ministry of Sound re-released it and it went pretty strong worldwide, scoring our first real chart position!

What I’m trying to say is, hits are made in weird ways these days. It’s not easy to figure out what’s hot and what’s not.

What was Format:A? 

I guess it’s A:wesome.

Finish these sentences:

One thing you won't know about us  is...  we love Johnny Cash.

If I wasn't doing this I'd love to... be a fisherman! 

As soon as I finish this interview I will... have breakfast, a smoke on the balcony and go to the studio.

You come from a non-dance background. What's an essential hardcore/jazz/funk or other non-repetitive beats album that everyone should listen to and why?

It’s not possible for me to just name that one album so let me tell you three different options.

Bob Marley - 'Best of...'

Because it’s the best album to put you in a good mood.

Michael Jackson - 'Thriller' 

Bruce Swedien (co-poducer and audio engineer on the Album) did a huge  job. 'Billy Jean' should still be the sound a like for all producers out there.

Johnny Cash- 'Live at Folsom Prison'

It’s Johnny Cash live from a hardcore prison! So good.

What three tracks sum up what you're likely to play at Egg?

Format:B - 'Okeey Yaah'

Pazkal - 'Younger Days'

David Keno & Dalson - 'Black Betty (Robosonic Remix)'

What's next? 

Hopefully peace on Earth!